ANOTHER EARTHQUAKE HITS NEPAL
A 7.3-magnitude earthquake struck eastern Nepal, near Mount Everest, today, two weeks after the devastating quake killed at least 8,000 in the Himalayan nation.
- At least 16 people were reportedly killed in today’s earthquake, according to the National Emergency Operation Center. Several buildings collapsed in the town of Chautara, in the eastern Sindhupalchowk district, Reuters reports.
- Aid agencies also say hundreds of people were injured, although the exact figure is still unclear.
- According to The Times of India, at least two people were also killed in India’s eastern state of Bihar, where shockwaves were felt.
- At least three landslides were reportedly triggered.
- The U.S. Geological Survey says the 7.3-magnitude quake struck at a depth of 15 kilometers. It was followed 30 minutes later by a 6.3-magnitude aftershock centered in the district of Ramechhap, east of Kathmandu.
French President François Hollande became the first top Western leader to visit Cuba since the island nation moved to reestablish relations with the United States late last year. Hollande spent Monday in Cuba, conducting talks with President Raúl Castro and meeting his older brother and leader of the revolution, Fidel Castro, in a rare public appearance for the 88-year-old former president. Read more in our Extra! feature.
ON THIS DAY
Happy birthday to both Tony Hawk and Alcoholics Anonymous. Learn more about this date's other notable events in your 57-second shot of history.
KERRY TO MEET PUTIN IN RUSSIA
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is scheduled to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Sochi today in what will be his first visit to Russia since the Ukraine crisis erupted in early 2014, Kommersant reports. They are expected to hold extensive talks about the conflicts in Ukraine, Syria, Yemen and the nuclear talks with Iran.
Pablo Picasso’s painting Women of Algiers (Version O) has officially become the world’s most expensive artwork after it sold for a record $179.4 million at Christie’s auction house in New York last night. The buyer’s identity hasn’t been disclosed, but The New York Times reports the final bid was made by phone. The previous record had also been set at Christie’s, when Francis Bacon’s Three Studies of Lucian Freud sold for $142.2 million in 2013.
THIRD BANGLADESHI BLOGGER MURDERED
Ananta Bijoy Das, a secular Bangladeshi blogger, was hacked to death by a machete-wielding gang of at least four masked attackers today in the northeastern city of Sylhet, the BBC reports. The 33-year-old, who worked as a banker, wrote for Mukto-Mona, a website known for challenging religious extremism. It was formerly moderated by Avijit Roy, a Bangladesh-born U.S. writer who was killed in a similar manner earlier this year. This is the third such murder of bloggers perceived to be anti-Islam since the beginning of the year, local police say. Another, Washiqur Rahman, was murdered in a knife attack in March. According to the American jihadist monitoring website SITE, al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) has claimed responsibility for the brutal killing. The previous attacks prompted massive protests in the country, as authorities have been accused of failing to protect critics of religious extremists.
MY GRAND-PÈRE’S WORLD
“We come here with a very clear mandate to improve Britain’s relationship with the rest of the EU, and to reform the EU so that it creates jobs and increases living standards for all its citizens,” British Finance Minister George Osborne told reporters before a meeting with his EU counterparts today in Brussels, The Guardian reports. Explaining that Britain would be constructive but firm in negotiations with the EU during the Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron’s second term, he insisted there was no more doubt regarding the referendum on Britain’s EU membership set to be held in 2017. For more on this, we offer this Les Echos/Worldcrunch piece, Cameron Victory Threatens United Kingdom And United Europe.
STRIKES HIT YEMEN HOURS BEFORE CEASEFIRE
Photo: Hani Ali/Xinhua/ZUMA
Saudi-led airstrikes pounded Yemen’s capital Sana’a today hours before a five-day truce was set to begin between the alliance of Gulf Arab nations and the Iran-allied Houthi militia that controls much of the country, Reuters reports.
WHITE HOUSE DEFENDS SAUDI KING’S NO-SHOW
The White House has insisted that Saudi King Salman’s abrupt decision to skip U.S.-hosted regional talks with the Gulf Cooperation Council in Camp David Thursday was not a snub to President Barack Obama, CNN reports. The talks aimed to ease the concerns of Gulf leaders over a framework nuclear deal the U.S. reached with Iran. Saudi officials have said the king’s absence was “due to the timing of the summit, the scheduled humanitarian ceasefire in Yemen and the opening of the King Salman Center for Humanitarian Aid.”
“What did you do this weekend?” — “Oh, you know, flew expand=1] around the world’s tallest building with a jetpack and stuff.”